Central Bank of Sudan freezes funds of 40 officials of Al Bashir regime

November 10 – 2019 KHARTOUM

Central Bank of Sudan (File photo: SBoS)

Central Bank of Sudan (File photo: SBoS)

The Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) has frozen bank accounts of 40 prominent officials of the former regime including Nafi Ali Nafi and Abbas Al Bashir, the brother of the deposed former president.

The frozen accounts including companies and business names associated with prominent officials of the former regime, against whom reports of irregularities have been filed regarding land and real estate.

The CBoS has issued a circular to all banks and ATMs to freeze these accounts on the grounds of alleged violations concerning money laundry and corruption.

The CBoS formally informed the Land Violation Prosecution stating that the personal accounts, companies, and business names of the suspected people were frozen in accordance with the prosecutor’s decision regarding the freezing of assets related to the officials of the former regime.

The sources revealed that Al Bashir’s brother Abbas owned 22 companies that were frozen according to the bank’s decision.

Link to web article.

Sudan’s publishers enjoy freedom after 30 years

Afkar Abdullah/SharjahFiled on November 8, 2019 | Last updated on November 8, 2019 at 10.29 pm

sharjah, sudan

(KT file)

The number of participating publishing houses has increased from two to eight, displaying several books that used to be banned.

Sudanese participation in the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) has increased this year as the country is enjoying their newfound freedom. Now, they are free from censorship.

The number of participating publishing houses has increased from two to eight, displaying several books that used to be banned.

According to them, they couldn’t participate in any international book fairs or cultural events, as the former regime allowed only publications that promoted its policies.

Hassan Saeed from University of Khartoum Publishing House said Sudanese participation in this year’s SIBF is the largest in the last 30 years.

“This is the result of the liberation of Sudanese people. Free from the thoughts of extremism and ignorance, Sudanese publishing houses are activating intellectual partnership through their participation in the SIBF.”

He pointed out that the Sudanese cultural participation in previous years were “sub-standard and intermittent”.

“Sudan is taking the right path to development, reconstruction and comprehensive renaissance,” he added.

Noor Al Huda, owner of Azza Publishing House, said that his stall has 25 distinct titles that are being displayed to the public for the first time.

These include an encyclopaedia on diversity by Dr Amr Mohamed Abbas and a series that examines the abilities and development of women.

Among the other previously banned books were Sex and Sexuality of the Sudanese Woman by Dr Fatima Babiker and My Heart on My Country by Dr Ali Abdel Kader.

Al Huda believed that the diversity of Sudan was brought about by African, Nubian and Arab civilisations coming together, producing distinctive literature.

afkarali@khaleejtimes.com

Link to web article.

Exclusive: Sudan needs up to $5 billion in budget support to prevent collapse

Khaled AbdelazizUlf LaessingMichael Georgy

4 MIN READ

FILE – Then-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir addresses the National Dialogue Committee meeting at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum, Sudan, April 5, 2019.

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan needs up to $5 billion in budget support to avert economic collapse and launch reforms after the ouster of veteran ruler Omar al-Bashir, its finance minister told Reuters.Sudan’s Finance Minister Ibrahim Elbadawi speaks during an interview with Reuters in Khartoum, Sudan November 7, 2019. Picture taken November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Sudan’s Finance Minister Ibrahim Elbadawi speaks during an interview with Reuters in Khartoum, Sudan November 7, 2019. Picture taken November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

The country, in crisis since losing most of its oil wealth with South Sudan’s secession in 2011, has only enough foreign currency reserves to fund imports for a few weeks, said Ibrahim Elbadawi, part of a transitional government formed in August.

Sudan has had some support for fuel and wheat imports but about 65 percent of its 44 million people live in poverty and it needs up to $2 billion in development funding along with a hoped-for $2 billion from Arab development funds, he said.

Outlining reform plans in detail for the first time, Elbadawi said public salaries would need to be increased and a social support network established to prepare for the painful removal of fuel and food subsidies.

Months of demonstrations over price hikes for fuel and bread and cash shortages triggered the uprising against Bashir, who was toppled in April by the military. Protests have continued since, with people killed in clashes with security forces.

“We have started the process (of reforms),” Elbadawi said in an interview on Thursday. “The people of Sudan deserve to be seen in a radically different prism than the international community used to see Sudan, as a country ruled by a pariah state.”

“Now we have a revolution,” he said. Asked how much budget support was needed for 2020 he said: “Some estimates say between three to four billion (US dollars), maybe even five billion.”

The civilian government Elbadawi is part of has taken over for three years under a power-sharing deal with the military. It has drawn slightly more than half of $3 billion in support for imports of wheat and fuel offered by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in April, he said.

A “friends of Sudan” donor meeting is planned for December and the government had agreed with the United States it could start engaging with international institutions while still on a list of countries deemed sponsors of terrorism, Elbadawi said.

The designation, which dates from allegations in 1993 that Bashir’s Islamist government supported terrorism, makes it technically ineligible for debt relief and financing from the IMF and World Bank. Congress needs to approve a removal.

CURRENCY

The first experts from international institutions had arrived in Khartoum to help with reforms and a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would come this month for Chapter IV discussions, Elbadawi said. There was no immediate comment from the IMF, World Bank or U.S. State Department.

Part of a roadmap agreed with the IMF and World Bank was that Sudan did not have to pay back $3 billion in arrears from international institutions.

“We don’t need to pay anything. What we need to … deliver really is policy,” he said. Sudan is one of the most indebted countries, owing $60 billion, which needs to be settled separately.

Sudan would start to increase its tax base and overhaul the civil sector, Elbadawi said. Salaries — eroded by double digit inflation rates — could be raised as much as 100 percent by April.

In the second half of next year a social support network would be set up to allow the lifting of subsidies by June or later. Some donor funding would be used to collect data to allow cash transfers for the needy.Sudan’s Finance Minister Ibrahim Elbadawi speaks during an interview with Reuters in Khartoum, Sudan November 7, 2019. Picture taken November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Sudan also wanted to produce bread based on sorghum, a local cereal, to import less wheat. He said he hoped a spread between official and black market would be ended by June. But this week the local pound dropped to 80 for a dollar on the black market versus the official rate at 45.

He said the 2020 budget would have sustainable development targets for education, health care and social spending, suggesting Sudan might move away from the dominant military spending choking development.

Writing by Ulf Laessing; editing by Philippa Fletcher

Link to web article.

Charlie Chaplin and the reclaiming of Sudan

BY SAMIRA SAWLANI NOVEMBER 5, 2019

Khartoum’s locally-organised open air film screenings epitomise much about Sudan’s ongoing revolution.

People gather for an open air film screening in Khartoum, Sudan.

People gather for an open air film screening in Khartoum, Sudan.

Earlier this summer, Lamia Nabil and her friends were sitting drinking tea in Khartoum. They were discussing Sudanese politics in the aftermath President Omar al-Bashir’s momentous fall in April when Nabil remarked that she could do with a break. She wished that she could just get some popcorn and watch a Charlie Chaplin film, she said.

Her passing comment struck a chord with her friends. A few weeks later on a Thursday night in September, crowds gathered under the stars for a free screening of Modern Times.

“Every seat was taken. Many people sat on the floor while others had to stand,” says Shaheen al-Sharif, a schoolteacher and one of the organisers. “The entire community came together to make this happen. One person brought a projector, another speakers. People donated fabric to put up behind the projector. The tea lady donated chairs.”

Soon, Amarat District was screening films twice a month and other neighbourhood committees started to follow its example. On some occasions, people gathered to watch Western films like The Sound of MusicSherlock Holmes and Aladdin. Other times, groups made sure to organise screenings of Sudanese classics such as Beats of the AntonovTajooj and Human Being (Insan).

“Under the previous regime we lived in a bubble where everything was stifled”, says al-Sharif. “An integral part of this revolution means learning our history and about each other and a large part of that comes through embracing our literature, film and creativity, telling the Sudanese story through these lenses. This is why we want to screen Sudanese films.”

For the young Sudanese who formed the backbone of the protest movement that led to the al-Bashir’s ouster, these screenings were new and exciting experiences. For some older generations, they evoked memories of times passed.

“During colonial times, we had ‘moving cinemas’ which were vehicles with a screen and speakers, often airing ‘educational’ films which spread propaganda,” says architect Zainab Gaafar. “Years later when people began to acquire televisions, you would see large groups sitting in communal courtyards watching TV shows.”

65-year-old Hassan Abbas also recalls the importance of movies during his childhood. “Since the 1940s and 1950s there were cinemas and open air screenings showing Hollywood, Bollywood and Egyptian films,” he says. “We would wait with excitement to hear about new film releases and rush to get our tickets. This was a huge part of our lives growing up in Sudan.”

This changed, however, during the economic woes that followed the arrival of al-Bashir regime in 1989 and the imposition of US sanctions in the 1990s. A curfew imposed soon after the new president took office also stopped people going out in the evening and reduced the appeal of public gatherings even after it was lifted. Sudanese filmmakers struggled and open-air screenings dwindled.

“It was one more thing we lost to that government,” says Abbas. “It almost felt like a part of every-day culture was slowly erased. The excitement of heading to the cinema, seeing film posters around and being full of hope about what Sudanese cinema would one day bring us diminished in such a short space of time.”

Watching Modern Times.

Three decades on, those old traditions are re-emerging. Following months of widespread protests across Sudan and an enormous sit-in on the streets of Khartoum in early 2019, al-Bashir was overthrown by senior military figures. After months of tense negotiations, the military and civilian representatives signed a power-sharing agreement to oversee a 39-month transition before elections.

“We were tired, but it was the youth of this country that was exhausted,” says Abbas. “The protests were not about prices of bread or fuel. It was about the incompetence, the corruption and the oppression which were the hallmarks of the regime.”

It was those same young people that organised the Charlie Chaplin screening and continue to uphold the hopes of the uprising. “This revolution was led by the youth,” says al-Sharif. “We feel responsible to see it through till the end and have learnt from previous revolutions which, in many ways, were left unfinished. Almost everyone knows someone who died fighting for this. We owe it to the martyrs.”

This ongoing project to transform Sudan has many levels, from the national to the local, and from the explicitly political to the everyday. This is perfectly captured in the new open air cinemas and the fact that they are being organised by neighbourhood committees. “When Bashir was in power, the neighbourhood committees were largely affiliated with the regime,” says Gaafar. “During the revolution, people have reclaimed these through organising protests to setting up film screenings to leading other community initiatives.”

While they may have started as a way to unwind from thinking about politics, the ongoing screenings epitomise so much of Sudan’s revolution. Led by the youth, they champion film as a way to reclaim public spaces, bring people together, and recover so much of what was previously lost, stolen or suppressed.

Link to web article.

Rwandan peacekeepers construct school for 800 students in Darfur.

By James Karuhanga. Published 25 October, 2019

Rwandan peacekeepers operating in Sudan’s Darfur region as part of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation (UNAMID) on Wednesday handed over a newly constructed secondary school they constructed in El Salaam IDP Camp, El Fasher – Darfur.

Nusaibah Girls’ secondary school was previously constructed with rudimentary materials and had a grass roof but Rwandan battalions in the area provided their own engineers and manpower to build a modern structure with a capacity to accommodate 800 students

The school now has 14 classrooms and four offices constructed in collaboration with Rwandan Battalions and the UNAMID Christian Fellowship.

“Today we are glad to receive a complete school for our students.  The school will not only be used by El-salaam IDP camp residents but also those in the surrounding areas,” the school head teacher, Adam Suleiman Muhamad, said during handover ceremony.

Peacekeeping ‘with a difference’ has always been the commitment of Rwandan peacekeepers serving under the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), and other UN missions, as they continue to build schools for local communities in their areas of operation.

By doing this, the army is always demonstrating that it lives by the values characterising the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) in regards to the social cooperation with the local population.

In all the UN missions where they are deployed, RDF troops introduced initiatives aimed at contributing to the local communities’ physical security and addressing pressing issues of human security as the bedrock of sustainable peace.

Initiatives such as firewood patrols, construction of energy saving stoves, and construction of schools and health centers fall into this category; on top of their core UN mandated military tasks.

Speaking during the school handover ceremony at El-salaam IDP camp, the Secretary General from the Governor’s office, Brig Gen Muhamad Ibrahim, applauded the contribution of RDF peacekeepers towards socio-economic development in the area.

He said: “This serves as a symbol of love and partnership between Rwanda and Sudan.”

Lt Col Bosco Rugema, the Commanding Officer RWANBATT 52, said that the school serves as a knot of friendship between Rwanda and Sudan.

“In Rwanda, the supporting culture is not a sign of wealth but a sign of love, value and honor.”

Rwanda has maintained peacekeepers in South Sudan ever since the creation of the peacekeeping mission.

Rwandan peacekeepers also include police officers. 

https://www.newtimes.co.rw/news/rwandan-peacekeepers-construct-school-800-students-darfur

Al-Bashir to be handed over to ICC as part of new Sudanese talks!!

Omar al Bashir at Khartoum International Airport, 25 October 2018. (Getty Images)

October 25, 2019 at 3:35 am | Published in: Africa, International Organisations, News, Sudan, UN

Sudan’s Attorney General, Taj Al-Sir Ali Al-Habr, met with the delegation of the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) to discuss the extradition of ousted President Omar Al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and transitional justice.

The Sudanese SUNA News Agency reported on Wednesday that the meeting discussed a number of issues related to the DBA, including the extradition of the ousted President Omar Al-Bashir to the ICC, the draft amendment of the laws in force, the performance of the Office of the General Prosecutor for Darfur Crimes and transitional justice.

Saleh Mahmoud, Deputy Chairman of the DBA, said the two sides agreed that the timing was not right for releasing statements about handing over Al-Bashir to the ICC.

Saleh pointed out that the Attorney General promised to coordinate with the Minister of Justice to ensure speedy and effective procedures with regard to laws which are inconsistent with international standards.

He noted that the Attorney General also promised to take steps to improve the performance of the Office of the General Prosecutor for Darfur Crimes to safeguard the rule of law so that all citizens enjoy justice.

In January 2012, Minister of Justice Mohamed Bishara Dousa ordered the establishment of a court responsible for all major and serious crimes committed in Darfur.

The ICC has already issued two arrest warrants against Al-Bashir in 2009 and 2010, on charges of “genocide and other atrocities,” as part of his campaign to crush a rebellion in Darfur.

On 11 April, the army’s leadership ousted Al-Bashir from the presidency, after 30 years in power, under the weight of popular protests that began in late 2018 to condemn the country’s deteriorating economic conditions.

Since 2003, Darfur has been the scene of a conflict between the army and three armed movements that have left 300.000 dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the UN statistics.

Sudan has entered, since 21 August, a transitional period to last 39 months and end with elections, during which power is shared by the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the forces of the Declaration of Freedom and Change, leader of the popular movement.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20191025-al-bashir-to-be-handed-over-to-icc-as-part-of-new-sudanese-talks/

Sudan Border closures with Libya, CAR begin to have impact.

By Naba Mohiedeen October 17, 2019 04:00 PM

FILE – Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, left, head of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, meets with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, in Juba, South Sudan, Oct. 14, 2019. The council has ordered the closure of Sudan’s borders with Libya and Central African Republic.

KHARTOUM – Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council recently ordered the closure of the country’s borders with the Central African Republic and Libya, citing security concerns. The order has been gradually implemented in the last three weeks.

However, some Sudanese say the decision is affecting business.

Spare parts trader Ahmed Bushara thinks reopening the borders would ease the country’s transportation crisis.  

The current high price of transportation isn’t about the fuel shortages only, he says. Spare parts are a major element for cars. If the borders are open and trade is facilitated, he says, it’ll reflect positively on the car sector and spare parts. 

Unlike Bushara, Noman Eisa has welcomed the measure, even though he once tried to migrate through Libya to Europe, only to return to Darfur.

Map of Sudan

Eisa says Libyan gangs and militias are a danger for Sudanese youth hoping to escape poverty and strife.

He says the closed borders are positive if they stop illegal migration, but he hopes the new government will deal with the people detained and lost in Libya, and handle the root cause of Sudanese youngsters leaving. In addition, he wants measures in place for legal migration.

The Sovereign Council decided to close the borders after a September clash between rival militias in Birau, Central African Republic, that left 23 people dead.

Council members cited reports that militiamen were sneaking into Sudan on their way to join other militias in Libya.

But political analyst Othman Mirghani thinks the council has both economic and security concerns.

The main smuggling of commodities is on the eastern borders not on the westerns ones, he says, but western borders have many security concerns, including weapon smuggling and armed troops entering the country from Libya and other countries that suffer from security issues.

Sudan is located on a widely-used migration route that links east and central Africa with the Mediterranean and Europe.

The unrest Sudan has seen before and since the ouster of former president Omar al-Bashir led the European Union to suspend funds for migration control, allowing a greater number of migrants to enter the country. It remains to be seen whether the border closures will slow that flow.

https://www.voanews.com/africa/sudan-border-closures-libya-car-begin-have-impact
 

US envoys open Sudan bank accounts for first time in decades!

Sudan hopes to revive its failing economy.

16 October ,2019

Four US diplomats on Wednesday opened accounts at a Sudanese bank for the first time in decades, as Khartoum seeks to draw international businesses back to the country to help revive the ailing economy.

In October 2017, the United States lifted its decades-old trade embargo on Sudan. But the move has so far failed to attract foreign investments, seen as vital to revive Sudan’s economy hit hard by foreign currency shortages.

In December 2018 an economic crisis sparked a nationwide protest movement. The uprising eventually led to the ouster of longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir in April.

“We lifted economic sanctions in 2017 and we want to show that Sudan is open for business, that banks, international banks and businesses are welcome back here,” Ellen Thorburn, deputy chief of mission at the US embassy in Khartoum told AFP after she opened her account at a branch of the Bank of Khartoum.

“The timing seemed right now with the civilian led transitional government and the changes that they are enacting,” Thorburn said.

She also cited the “dramatic changes” Sudan has witnessed this year as an incentive.

With the ouster of Bashir, Sudan is now ruled by a joint civilian-military body, called the sovereign council, which is tasked with overseeing the country’s transition to civilian rule.

Washington has kept Sudan in its “state sponsors of terrorism list” along with Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Sudanese officials say this is still keeping international businesses away.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-7581095/US-envoys-open-Sudan-bank-accounts-time-decades.html

Sudan declares ‘permanent ceasefire’ as peace talks hit snag!

AFP Thursday, 17 October 2019

Sudan announced Wednesday a “permanent ceasefire” in the country’s war zones even as a key rebel group threatened to pull out of peace talks, accusing government forces of bombing its territory.

Juba has been hosting talks between new Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s government and delegates from two umbrella groups of rebels who fought now-ousted president Omar al-Bashir’s forces in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan states.

The talks were launched on Monday, but the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) told journalists it would pull out unless the government withdrew from an area in the Nuba mountains.

The group said that for the past 10 days government forces had kept up attacks on its territory despite an unofficial ceasefire.

Late on Wednesday, the chief of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, announced a permanent ceasefire in the three conflict zones.

“General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has announced a permanent ceasefire to show that the government is committed to peace,” the sovereign council said in a statement.

“The ceasefire is valid from the signing of this declaration.”

An unofficial ceasefire had been in place since Bashir was ousted by the army in April in a palace coup following nationwide protests against his decades-old rule.

A joint civilian-military sovereign council is now ruling Sudan and is tasked with overseeing the country’s transition to civilian rule as demanded by protesters.

A new transitional government is in place to carry out the daily affairs of the country and has been leading the peace talks in South Sudan’s capital with the rebel groups.

Bloodshed in the three states has left hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions displaced, in turn severely impacting the northeast African country’s economy. Last Update: Thursday, 17 October 2019 KSA 04:19 – GMT 01:19

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/10/17/Sudan-declares-permanent-ceasefire-as-peace-talks-hit-snag.html

Sudan’s First Female Chief Justice Wins Wide Acceptance

By Carol Van Dam October 15, 2019 01:08 PM

In this frame grab from video, Sudanese women rally on the streets of the capital, in Khartoum, Sudan, Sept. 12, 2019.

KHARTOUM, SUDAN – Sudanese citizens have largely embraced the sovereign council’s move to appoint Nemat Abdallah as Sudan’s first female chief justice, a first in the Arab world.

Nemat Abdallah Mohammed Khair’s appointment is monumental not only for Sudan but for all of Africa. She is only the fifth female justice named in Africa, after Ghana, Ethiopia, Seychelles and Lesotho.

Wafa Adam, who works for the local non-governmental organization Siha, which advocates for women’s rights in Sudan, is elated that a woman now holds a top position in the country, something that was unthinkable for decades under former President Omar al-Bashir.

“I am very excited about that and she is going to support the women and she is going to advocate for women and laws. We expect her to support the women movements and the women,” Adam told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

Adam said Sudan is one of three Muslim countries that has not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). She expects Abdallah to ratify CEDAW and to work to reform Sudanese local laws that oppress women.

“For example, public order law, family law and criminal law and many laws that are not supporting women’s rights, we request her to advocate for reforming those laws,” Adam told VOA.

Israa Dawood, a Sudanese youth who took part in the protests that led to Bashir’s ouster, said Abdallah’s appointment is historic.

“This is a huge milestone for Sudan and now we are depending on the judiciary so much, so that atrocities committed during the revolution’s period would be brought to book. Abdallah has played a significant role during the revolution and everybody has pushed for her appointment,” Dawood told South Sudan in Focus.

Haj Hamad, a political science lecturer at Khartoum University, said Abdallah’s appointment as chief justice proves that the overwhelming number of Sudanese trust women’s leadership skills.

“This is a major breakthrough from earlier policies of a different regime in the country, that providing a reprisal step of women professionals and leaders to occupy such kind of very high ranking and influential post,” Hamad said.

Abdallah was initially nominated as chief justice soon after military leaders and the opposition signed a power-sharing agreement in late August, but Sudan’s new executive body, the sovereign council, instead named a man to the post. Public protests led the council to reverse course and appoint her as chief justice on October 10.

Hamad said Abdallah will likely face numerous obstacles during Sudan’s three-year transitional government, but added that the new chief justice will likely stand firm to defend the country’s constitutional declaration and all laws that govern the country.

According to the constitutional document signed on August 17, 2019, the chief justice names the judiciary council.

In addition, the chief justice heads the judiciary and serves as president of the nation’s Supreme Court.

Link to web article.